Christmas Pressie 1: Silk Scarf

This is a labour of love, not only in terms of the time the project takes but also the cost of the silk.  Ideally, you should only make this for your mum or yourself 🙂  You don’t actually need a lot of silk but do ensure that what you buy is fine and feels sumptuous!

A rectangle of pure silk is first hand-rolled then beaded around the edge.  I estimate this would take an intermediate sewist some 10 hours, including the essential 2 hours of practice that I really recommend you do on a patch of your silk if you haven’t hand-rolled before.  Without a bit of ‘previous experience’, your hem is in danger of looking more professional the further you progress around the scarf.

You will need:

1. A piece of soft silk measuring about 75cm x 55cm.  This amount wouldn’t be enough to wrap around the neck if it was fleece but silk has this way of elongating as if by magic if you turn it on the bias.

2. Thread in as close a match to the fabric as possible (very important).

3. Matching beads.  If you leave gaps of two ‘invisible’ beads between each one, you can use the perimeter of your scarf to estimate the number of beads required.  E.g. in my case:  (75+75+55+55) / 3 = 87.

4. Small scissors.

5. A fine needles.

How to:

Part 1: Hemming

I couldn’t show you hand-rolling better than Ami does in this brill You tube demo.  It’s one of my all-time favourite sewing tutorials. (And Ami, I don’t at all mind you being left-handed; I relish the intellectual challenge of mirroring your actions!)  The video quality and tuition are top notch but Ami also has a calming, gentle manner that had me immediately reaching for needle and thread as if hypnotized.

Be sure to watch to the end to find out how to do corners.  If you want a sample of what I’m on but don’t want to watch the whole thing, skip to minutes 6:00 – 7:00


Part 2: Beading
 

Sew on with a running stitch, making sure you backstitch every 5 beads or so.  That way, if one bead snags, it doesn’t drag its friends down with it.

Tips:

1. Have plenty of light.

2. It helps to keep sections you’re working on flat and taught.  To do so, I sat with my knees up wearing tightish jeans and pinned the fabric to myself.  Er, to my jeans, not thighs!  But you can also put a firm pillow on your lap and pin to that! .

3. The video recommends a product called Thread Heaven with which to coat the thread and prevent slipknots.  I used beeswax instead thinking it would do the same: not a good shortcut as it really made knotting worse.  After one of your reader comments below, I’ll really give Thread Heaven a try.  It might even speed things up.

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Do you have a sewing video to recommend?  Have you worked with silk?  Are you mad and making any presents??  Tell all.

Next time: something much quicker and mum-friendly

8 thoughts on “Christmas Pressie 1: Silk Scarf

    • Thanks Jo!

      I forgot to add that you don’t notice the hours go by if there’s something good on the radio. Might work with telly too!

  1. Thank you for the lovely tutorial. I will definitely try this. You said you thought the “wax” recommended by Ami made the thread more likely to knot. I used to do a lot of beadwork, and always used Thread Heaven, the product she recommended. Although it is waxy, it is not wax. It is a thread conditioner. Not only does it make the thread less likely to knot, it also makes it stronger, and less likely to break. Also, it leaves no residue, as beeswax does. I hope you’ll change your mind and try it. When I was beading, I sold kits of my designs, and always included Thread Heaven, because I knew a lot of people would skip that step if I didn’t, and it really is THAT good. In fact, I still have quite a few little boxes of it left, so, if you will email me your address, I will send you one, as a little token of gratitude for your blog.

    • Hi Ann
      Thanks so much for pointing this out; there’s obviously a world of difference between Thread Heaven and a wax. I’ve edited the post so as to point this out and I will send you my address (thank you for the offer, it’s very kind.)

      Might even give TW a review!

  2. Great video – thanks for sharing it. I’ve handrolled dozens of scarves in my time but none as neatly and with such ease as that! Love the sound of thread heaven too. Your scarf is lovely Marianna, the beads really add something.

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